Although you might not think that a chronic condition such as asthma would play favorites among different races, the fact is that people of certain ethnic backgrounds seem to have a higher predisposition to this disease. But if you are Asian, your risk for developing asthma may be lower than that of some of your neighbors, according to data reported by the American Lung Association.   Nonetheless, many Asians still suffer from the host of symptoms, which can range from bothersome to serious, and include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and pain.

The Scope of Asian Asthma Rates

When looking for asthma statistics among minorities, some researchers point out the fact that little data exists that specifically captures the prevalence of this condition among Asian American children. However, one recent study looked at asthma rates for young residents of Boston Chinatown. The findings revealed that about 15 percent of the Asian American children surveyed had been diagnosed with this condition by their physician, while another 18 percent may have had asthma that had not been diagnosed. So this could be as high as 33 percent of the total population of children in this small neighborhood.

This is high—especially when you compare this number to the Center for Disease Controls national estimate of 8.7 percent of all American children who have this disease in their lifetime. At the same time, when you compare the percent of Asian Americans suffering from asthma with the rates of other inner city children, the numbers are actually lower than among other races.

Environmental Triggers

Among Asian children with asthma, the triggers are thought to be similar to those among other inner city children. Environmental factors seem to be involved. These can include:

  • Crowded living conditions
  • Poor air quality
  • Chemicals from cleaning supplies and other substances
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pollen

Overall, asthma among children of all races who live in crowded environments located in poorer sections of big cities is seen by many researchers to be a growing public health problem.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for Asian children are also be consistent with those for children of other ethnic backgrounds.  Some ways to head off asthma, or treat the existing symptoms, include taking a multi-pronged approach including:

  • Eliminating triggers in the home setting.
  • Using medication preventatively, as well as to treat symptoms as needed.
  • Seeking regular medical care to assess and monitor the condition.
  • Developing an asthma action plan, which is an important guide to help you recognize symptoms and respond appropriately to head off an impending attack.